A Month of Sundays: Brunch at Jacoby’s

Jacoby’s Restaurant & Mercantile
3235 E. Cesar Chavez St., Austin (map), 512-366-5808, www.jacobysaustin.com
Brunch hours: 10:30am-2pm Sat-Sun
Regular hours: 5-10pm Tue-Sat
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 03.04.16
The rusty corrugated roof, the weathered neon sign, the shaggy cedar poles out front. Jacoby’s looks as much like a small-town curio shop as a restaurant. That’s by design, because you can buy milk glass and candles at the adjoining Mercantile. Or beef from the Jacoby family ranch, the same kind the restaurant turns into chicken-fried steak, dry-aged filet and short-rib hash. Adam Jacoby opened this place in August 2014, with expansive outdoor seating along a stretch of the Colorado River that looks like the eroded aftermath of a tidal basin flood. It’s less riverside posh and more family picnic, which feels about right for an East Austin brunch.
What you’re eating
 Smoked Short Rib Hash: The Jacoby’s experience, defined in one dish. Mahogany bites of sturdy beef with warm smoke and a healthy fat-to-lean ratio mingle with crisp homefries, bonded with hollandaise and the fork-burst of yolk from poached eggs. It’s dressed with a city-bred toss of arugula and pickled red peppers, but the enameled steel plate suggests this one’s every bit at home on the range. ($17)
 Buttermilk Biscuit and Gravy: The cowboy aesthetic also comes through in a square, hardshell biscuit with a healthy (and wickedly unhealthy) soaking of good white gravy with sharp bites of breakfast sausage. ($5)
 Deviled Eggs: My patience for “elevated” simple things is stretched thin at $6 for three little egg halves filled with their own creamed yolks and a mince of pickled vegetables.
 Cheddar Grits: On the other hand, if you want to dress up grits with so much cheese and butter that a few lush spoonfuls call for a football game and a nap, then $7 for a big shareable bowl is a bargain.
 Duck Confit Migas: With a thick base of house-fried tortilla chips and distinct layers of mild pulled duck, fluffy scrambled eggs and pico, I’d call this chilaquiles or breakfast Frito pie before I’d call it migas. Either way, with its over-reliance on chili spicing, the absence of sides and the fact that it’s served in something that looks like a surgical instrument tray, I’d resist this premium-priced novelty and stick with Jacoby’s homespun strengths. ($18)
What you’re drinking
 Bloody Mary: It’s spiced like a country vegetable garden, with a bite of Jacoby’s summer sausage on top, served in a pint-sized Mason jar for one of the best Bloody Mars of this series so far. ($9)
 Ginger Peach Bellini: Unless they’re dangerously cheap, I won’t waste your time talking about mimosas in this series, because anybody can splash OJ and champagne together. But take some sparkling wine and fortify it with a sweet-and-sharp balance of peach puree and ginger and you have my attention. Of course, I wish you’d hold my attention longer than it took to drink this tiny, tiny glass. ($7)
Something sweet
 Kelli’s Blueberry Bread (French toast style): Here’s where I lose my patience with paying $12 for French toast with no sides. Bread, egg wash and syrup. Come on. This house-made blueberry bread might be just fine at $6 for two slices, but burn it on a griddle, spoon on some whip cream and charge double? I don’t care how cute the vintage glass pitcher of syrup is, that’s too much for too little.
A Month of Sundays: 31 Austin brunches
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)